Home Arts A Most Humble Series of Suggestions for the Artist

A Most Humble Series of Suggestions for the Artist

by Archives January 15, 2008

Please steal aggressively and shamelessly from anyone living, dead, or fictional.

Art does not belong to anyone. You may get in trouble for stealing ideas, but the goal of theft is not to use what you steal as a whole. Rather, the goal of this kind of theft is to digest it and then regurgitate it changed. If you do this, you shouldn’t get into any trouble. Expect others to steal from you. Assist them in their theft. Nothing is sacred. Take what you what. The cult of authorial supremacy must die. Art is like a primal wave you ride. You are only borrowing momentum from it momentarily. Due to this, no real artist should have any, true legitimate, claim of ownership of their art.

Please don’t listen to anyone telling you what you can and can’t do.

Everything is possible. Nothing is impossible. Art belongs to the domain of dreams and illusions as well as the concrete and everyday. If you wish to make something happen, ignore anyone telling you it can’t be done, or that it shouldn’t be done. If you can imagine it, do it.

Please ensure that at least one person enjoys what you do.

This means you. Even if most people don’t enjoy your work, as long as you like it, then you should be fine. It isn’t your goal to please everyone, but it certainly is your goal to please at least yourself. You can take this to mean that you should only be working on a project that you truly believe in. The lure of money will be great and sometimes you’ll have to put food on the table, but it seems like it would be easier if you at least enjoyed your work.

Please understand that art is a participatory act.

The strength of art lies within the instant it is perceived by another person or persons (the audience). The audience is as much a participant in your project as the person who takes care of lighting or the actors or the paint you use. Each of them has a role to play, and all too often, we forget that without an audience actively participating in the event of perceiving art, art is just an unborn idea waiting to be brought to life.

Please throw away the damn kid gloves.

Your audience doesn’t want to be coddled. They aren’t children. They don’t want easy answers. Well, some of them might, but your task is to teach them that your way is better. So take the kid gloves off; shake the audience around a little.

Please don’t be a snob.

As deceptively easy as this statement sounds, this really is quite hard to do. You’re going to feel like god out there when you’re creating with your art. Almost invariably, some sort of elitism will set in. Not everyone gets your art? Well that’s OK: they’re only barely literate commoners. People don’t understand why you’re doing it? Well that’s because they’re uncultured savages. Here’s the thing. Chances are you don’t understand everything there is to know about something they like or are good at. This certainly doesn’t make you less important than they are. Your ability to create a dramatically engaging story, meld colors and forms with expert grace, or move like a person possessed, does not make you better. Your goal is to reach out to the audience with your art, not live in a fantasy realm of intellectual superiority. That’s just called mental masturbation. You can do that at home.

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